Biden’s Tea Party conundrum


Yesterday Biden stated the Tea Party movement isn’t racist.  His comment seems contradictory after some member groups have recently expressed such views.  In today’s Boston Globe, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) recent resolution was highlighted with Biden’s statement. The resolution was probably intended to encourage the Tea Party to, “…’repudiate the racist element and activities,’” within its ranks.

The National Tea Party Federation (NTPF) is a very conservative collection of groups that favors policies intended to embrace free markets, fiscal responsibility, and a smaller federal government.  According to CNN, the movement started in response to the Obama Administration’s policies.  Though the federation is a smaller organization within the Republican party, the Tea Party seems to be looking to pull the GOP farther to the right.  According to Mark Skoda, an NTPF founder, the group is, “…’trying to fix the conservative movement.’” This shift to the far right is, according to Skoda, in response to the Democrats being taken over by the far left progressives.

The NAACP seemed to have adopted the resolution in response recent events associated with the federation.  Last week, a local Tea Party group in Iowa funded a billboard which explicitly compared Obama to the likes of Hitler and Lenin. The negative ad backfired on the group as it was promptly covered up in under 48 hours.

In response to the NAACP’s criticism and other events, the Tea Party movement appears to have split in two: the National Tea Party Federation (NTPF) and the Tea Party Express (TPE).  The NTPF has officially declared that it is no longer associated with the TPE.  The federation publicly attributes the falling out to the TPE’s failure to remove its spokesperson, Mark Williams.  The controversy surrounding Williams sparked after his letter to Lincoln was published.

As members try to defend themselves against racist charges, the fate of the movement hangs in the balance. With the intense infighting taking place, the NTPF probably faces an uphill battle in repairing its image. What specifically this means for the many local chapters here in Massachusetts is still uncertain. It is possible that local groups could gain fewer seats. However, the break might be the key to local members getting elected.

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